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Boris Becker - Young Champion

Famous Sports StarsTennisBoris Becker Biography - Young Champion, Ups And Downs, Controversy Finds The Wunderkind, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments

Young Champion

Boris Becker was born in Liemen, West Germany, to Karl-Heinz and Elvira Becker. His father, an architect, saw an early promise in his son and was active in constructing a tennis center near their home. Young Boris began playing competitively at the age of 8. Actually, Boris was not the best boy at the center, and at one point he was relegated to hitting with the girls, including a young Steffi Graf. But at age 11, he was good enough to start competing in the adult divisions. By that time he had acquired a coach, Gunther Bosch, who would one day take him to Wimbledon. In 1984, he also acquired a manager, Ion Tiriac, also a world-renowned coach. He too played a large role in Becker's future success.

In 1984 Becker entered his first Wimbledon competition, but a torn ligament soon ended his chances. The next year things went considerably better. At age 17, he appeared at Wimbledon again, alongside such established figures as Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, and Rod Laver. To universal amazement, Becker found himself facing Kevin Curren in the finals. After beating Curren, 6-3, 6-7, 7-6, and 6-4, Boris Becker became the youngest champion in Wimbledon history.

The result was electric, creating an international sensation. Back in West Germany, Becker became a national idol. As he told a New York Times reporter, "I'm the first German, and I think this will change tennis in Germany. They never had an idol, and now maybe they have one." While some felt Becker's was overstating the case, there was no doubt that Germans were delighted, and thousands of them turned out to welcome him back to Leiman to the sounds of "Boom Boom Boris," a hit rock song based on Becker's nickname. At the same time, Becker was developing a reputation for coolness under pressure, in contrast to some of his more volatile colleagues on the court. One Wimbledon victim summed it up: "He just plays, hits the ball, wins, says thank you and goodbye."

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